'Quiet Place' makes NAmerica box office noise as Covid curbs ease

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Director/actor John Krasinski speaks on May 29, 2021 at a screening in Austin, Texas of his new film "A Quiet Place: Part II," which topped the box office in its initial week

Horror film "A Quiet Place: Part II" opened in North America this weekend to considerable fanfare and with numbers unlike any seen since the pandemic began, as Covid curbs began falling and theaters began filling up again.

So after Hollywood's brutal year of dark screens and empty seats, movies are starting to come back.

"The symbolic importance of this Memorial Day Weekend to the movie theater industry cannot be overstated," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore. The numbers, he said, "tell an indisputable story about the resilience and continued relevance of the big screen experience."

The latest "Quiet Place" -- a John Krasinski-directed sequel to the popular 2018 film about a young family trying to outwit horrific blind monsters with frighteningly keen hearing -- is projected to take in $58.5 million for the four-day Memorial Day weekend, said industry watcher Exhibitor Relations.

That pushed the combined gross for the weekend's top 12 films to $78.1 million, up from $18.8 million the previous weekend and from a flat-lining zero in the corresponding 2020 weekend.

"This bodes well for the future of the theatrical exhibition and is thus a huge relief for the movie industry at large," Dergarabedian said.

In second place for the weekend was Disney's live-action "Cruella" at $27 million. The movie, with a snarling Emma Stone as the title baddie and Emma Thompson in a supporting role, has a ways to go to attain the box-office status of its 1961 precursor "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," but its opening weekend was seen as "promising," Variety said, given conditions.

"Cruella" can also be streamed on the Disney+ channel.

There was a steep dropoff to third spot, which went to Lionsgate's horror film "Spiral," at $3 million. The latest addition to the "Saw" franchise stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella and Samuel L. Jackson.

In fourth, at $2.8 million, was "Wrath of Man," from United Artists. The action thriller, directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Jason Statham as an armored truck driver who thwarts a robbery but then faces unwanted attention due to his troubled past.

And in fifth was Disney's computer-animated fantasy "Raya and the Last Dragon," at $2.4 million. Its mainly Asian-American cast includes the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Sandra Oh.

Rounding out the top films were:

"Godzilla vs. Kong" ($1 million)

"Dream Horse" ($817,000)

"Those Who Wish Me Dead" ($641,000)

"Mortal Kombat" ($302,000)

Final figures for the four-day weekend are due Tuesday.

bbk/to

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